#47 Mizu: Summer group exhibition on the theme of 'Water'

17 June - 22 August 2021

For the annual Summer exhibition of 2021 IBASHO has chosen the theme 'Mizu', the word for 'water' in Japanese. As an island nation, Japan has a deep connection with water in various ways, creating a cultural history where water and life go hand in hand.


In Japan, under the influence of the indigenous religion Shintoism, Mizu is believed to incarnate the purity and pliant simplicity of life. A spiritual connection with elements like water is believed to be a primary force in the life of a Shinto priest. Likewise, waterfalls are believed to be sacred and standing under one is thought to purify the individual. 

Mizu is also one of the five elements of Japanese Bhuddism (Godai: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Void) and embodies the quality of flexibility. Water represents the fluid, flowing, and formless things in the world. Rivers, lakes, and rain fall under Mizu but it can also include clouds, mood swings, and even bodily fluids like blood. Plants belong to this element too, as they grow and adapt to their changing environment according to the direction of the sun and the seasons. 


In 1645 swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin, Miyamoto Musashi, wrote that we may have much to learn from water. To Musashi, water has a natural innate flexibility, since it can quickly adapt to shifting boundaries and continually seek out the best path. Adaptable and resourceful, water is as comfortable flowing down a stream as it is settling into a lake basin. Given enough time, it can even erode mountains. To Musashi, a skilled swordsman must possess that same ability to adapt to change in a split-second -and the patience to keep his cool even in the most unexpected of situations. Qualities that are useful for life in general.


In 'Mizu' IBASHO will show works by 7 Japanese contemporary photographers, 2 Western contemporary artists and vintage works by 5 older masters of Japanese photography, in which Mizu plays a significant role.